The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Arthur Brown

2-21-08 Arthur Brown

I’ve been a fan of Arthur Brown for nearly 40 years. Like almost everybody else that was alive in 1968 – I first heard his song “Fire”, his malevolent admonition for the age of Aquarius. “I Am The God of Hell, Fire – and I Bring You – Fire!” – and the album it’s on “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” (Track 613 005, Atlantic SD 8198; 1968) is pretty damned good.

As nothing else appeared on the market bearing Arthur’s name in 1969 or 1970 – in the fast-moving times of the early 70’s, I thought he was perhaps a one-hit-wonder – perhaps never to make another record?

In fact, I didn’t even hear Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come until 1972 or 1973 – and it was at the urging of an acquaintance I made, a guy I met by my placing a notice card up in a record store – looking to discuss music with other like-minded individuals. Ah, the things one did in a pre-internet age!

Jim Hresko told me that Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come “Galactic Zoo Dossier” (LP: UK Polydor 2310 130, 1971) was his favorite record of all time – I do not remember what I told him my favorite record of that time was – probably King Crimson “In The Court of the Crimson King”? Both Jim and I were into Van Der Graaf Generator – he was amazed that I knew of them – I was one of the few people he hadn’t told about VDGG.

Well, he was right – “GZD” (as it affectionately known by fans) is a monster album – and thankfully, the Japanese have done the right thing and re-issued the CD as a little paper album cover (kami sleeve) CD – complete with reproducing the poster included in the original album (miniaturized, of course, to “CD size”). For the record, I am also 100% good with the 2nd album by ABKC “Kingdom Come (LP: UK Polydor 2310 178, 1972). Jim liked the 3rd ABKC album “Journey” better than I did, but I still liked it – the first rock album to prominently feature a drum machine, instead of a regular drummer.

I recently obtained Arthur’s biography / autobiography – and was surprised at how much the book dealt with his spirituality. From his records, his wild sense of humor was obvious – but his biography / autobiography is a real wild ride – with plenty of tales of the up and down world of the music business and the times that his records were made in.

35+ years later, and I am still friendly with Jim H. – I wonder if he’s read the Arthur Brown book? I bet he’d like the book – but, like me, he’d think that they sort of glossed over Kingdom Come – not giving them enough space in the pages. Too bad that there was another group that took the “Kingdom Come” name – they even had an eponymous titled album, so watch it – if you’re wanting to check out the1972 works of Arthur Brown.

Stuck in the “Galactic Zoo”? Want to discuss it? Come along with me, traffic light – I believe I can help you!

p.s. Good luck to the moron who bid on the "World's Greatest Music Collection" - $3+ mil. for an unseen 160,000 collection? Not around here...



Anonymous Jim Donato said...


That was 3,000,000 LPs + 600,000 CDs in that auction. Or < $1/title. But selling on e-bay? What was he thinking? My guess is that he has a catastrophic illness and needs whatever he can lay his hands on.... and fast! Should of taken that $29 mil 9 years ago before the end [Napster] times...

7:33 AM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

There was also an article on this guy in the Feb. 29th Goldmine. According to the article he is legally blind and fighting diabetes. He's 69 years old. It lists the collection at 3 million LPs and 300,000 CDs. He claims to have been negotiating for quite some time with interested parties including the Library of Congress, but nothing solid could be worked out. $3,000,000 is a boatload of money, but certainly far less than he was expecting. I agree, Ebay was a poor choice. It'll be interesting to see what the buyer does with it.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

I kinda wondered if the photo of him holding the supposed $10,000 Rolling Stones album isn't, in fact, a re-issue of it (which I remember being around in the 80's). Yes, where will it turn up?

7:10 AM  

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